Thursday, January 5, 2012

Connecting Informatics Research to Practice: Innovations for AMIA 2012

This year, I will be serving as the Scientific Program Committee (SPC) Chair for the AMIA 2012 Annual Symposium. The annual "AMIA meeting" is the most important biomedical and health informatics scientific meetings of the year, attracting the highest-quality submissions and otherwise providing a snapshot of the field through keynote talks, panels, and other sessions. I am honored to have been selected as SPC Chair for the 2012 meeting and, like many SPC Chairs before me, hope to make some innovations to the meeting that prove to be enduring in value. I was interviewed at the AMIA 2011 conference to give my perspective on the conference and my role in 2012.

The AMIA 2012 innovation I am most excited about is a new category of presentation we are calling the State of the Practice. This session type fits in well with my growing activity at the intersection between the science and practice of informatics. We hope to accept sessions led by experts and leaders from operational settings who will describe key problems and challenges whose solutions have answers in the scientific research of the field. These sessions will provide what all mature professions must have, which is robust and pertinent science that supports operational practice.

Another key AMIA 2012 innovation is a submission category for podium presentations of abstracts. As many AMIA authors and presenters know, the indexing of AMIA papers in the MEDLINE bibliographic database has been a mixed blessing. While it enables authors to have their work made more visible by indexing in the premier biomedical literature database, it also often precludes later, more substantive publication of the work in a scientific journal, due to rules around "prior publication." This new category of submission will allow authors to present their most innovative and cutting-edge work, with the abstract published in the proceedings but not indexed in MEDLINE, so that the author will retain complete flexibility for future publication of the work.

A couple other new changes will be the return of the tutorial program to presenter-initiated submissions (instead of commission by an AMIA committee) and a new pre-symposium program for AMIA Working Groups. The conference Call for Participation provides details on submitting for presentation.

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